THE PRICE OF CROSS-CULTURAL GRANDPARENTING:
You Have to Go to Tedious Movies You Wouldn’t See Otherwise – and in a Foreign Language; or 2½ Hours That Flew by Like 4
***"Captain America: Civil War"/"Первый мститель: Противостояние"***(USA, 2016)(Area theaters from May 5)
--> The good news was the *literal* price: I said “1 old guy and 1 handicapped kid” and the lady gave us 2 tix @ 100 roobs a pop. How can you not love a first-run blockbuster for a buck and a half?
It's pretty easy, actually. This cine-outgrowth of Marvel Comics consists entirely of costumed super heroes fighting each other and occasionally bad(der) guys for well over 2 hrs. at very high volume. Yikes. And whatever snappy patter there is in the original script – the Tony Stark/Iron Man character has had some good lines in his own movies (which I’ve enjoyed, btw) – did not survive, as I knew it wouldn't, the transplant into Russian.
OK, there *are* all manner of expensive-looking FX in this $250 mln-budget epic. But so what? The next time I’m asked whether some movie’s special effects are good, I’m going to respond, “Good for what?” The attraction of “effects gratia effectis” simply eludes me.
But not Grandson, of course, who was busily enjoying his eardrums out all by himself in the 2nd row. The kid’s not wholly uncritical – the new Spiderman character, he said later, was “way too juvenile” (wait til I tell Grandma that one!). But basically every giant explosion (many) and super-fight (even more) was for him, judging by the back of his bobbing head, nothing short of a wonderment. When they finally let us out, he couldn’t wait to ask, “So what did you think of *that*?” I dodged a bullet with, “That was something, all right!”
And it was. I have no idea what. But I am glad, really, that 100 rubles can buy my Grandson that much fun.
JB comment: Doesn't Cpt A look a bit like Vova? How's that, "strategic communications" theorists might say -- using one form of "enemy" propaganda -- to your own advantage? Entertain the masses by letting them see a "blockbuster" enemy film -- to justify VVP himself being a "Captain Russia" stronger than the enemy -- as defined in the film -- his very own russkii himself. But, more seriously, I suspect -- bottom line -- that screening Hollywood blockbuster films in "Russian World" po-blatu Russia just brings in a lot of money to Russian "entreprenoors" with real estate in Manhattan/L.A.
A Princeton PhD, was a U.S. diplomat for over 20 years, mostly in Central/Eastern Europe, and was promoted to the Senior Foreign Service in 1997. After leaving the State Department in order to express opposition to the planned invasion of Iraq, he taught courses at Georgetown University pertaining to the tension between propaganda and public diplomacy. For many years he shared ideas on the theme "E Pluribus Unum? What Keeps the United States United" with Eurasian/European delegates participating in the "Open World" program.
Brown’s articles have appeared in numerous publications. A recent piece is “Janus-Faced Public Diplomacy: Creel and Lippmann During the Great War” (published in Nontraditional U.S. Public Diplomacy: Past, Present, and Future; now online).
He is the author (with S. Grant) of The Russian Empire and the USSR: A Guide to Manuscripts and Archival Materials in the United States (also online). In the past century, he served as an editor/translator of a joint U.S.-Soviet publication, The Establishment of Russian-American Relations, 1765-1815.