3:10 To Yuma

Posted Wednesday, June 18, 2008, 11:13 PM

I'm not a fan of Westerns, generally, but there have been a few that I've watched and particularly enjoyed, both movies and TV shows. Some of them are just staples of my childhood and so stick in my mind, but others are great stories wonderfully told, the genre notwithstanding.

But that's the key: Westerns are a genre; and like Science Fiction and Fantasy, it's a setting to tell morality tales. Sure I can enjoy them on the superficial level of gunfights and horse riding, but that's not enough for me, and they're often why I don't like Westerns as a rule - they seem to rely too much on gunfights and horse riding. Just compare any Clint Eastwood Spaghetti Western with each other. So to draw me in, they have to have a good story that works on my level.

3:10 To Yuma got some good reviews when it was released last year, so when I saw it was out on DVD I was interested. I have enjoyed Christian Bale a lot recently, and there's no doubt that Russell Crowe is a great draw card, even if he is a dickhead in real life (cf. Robert Downey Jr). On a whim I bought the DVD. It might introduce me to the genre in a more serious way, but if nothing else it should be entertaining.

As I have gotten more involved in movie making, genres as a concept have started to interest me more. I am not a fan of Horror, but I have worked on Horror stories and movies. I am not a fan of War films, but working on Checkpoint for Rob was something that interested me a lot. I am not into steam trains, but having made a model of one for Checkpoint, I had to do some research and it really interested me, now that I had a purpose motivating it. Soon I'll be researching jet fighter planes for similar reasons.

So the Genre of the Western - the tropes, the clichés, the stereotypes, the myths, the stories - hold a fascination for me now that they haven't before, and it's interesting to see modern film-makers take them and twist them into something modern audiences will enjoy. That in and of itself is something I should pay attention to: How do you take a genre full of well worn clichés and turn them into something new, and watchable, and unpredictable?

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