Friday, March 22, 2013

Napoleon


“Spielberg Using Kubrick Script for Napoleon Series,” was the headline in the Arts, Briefly section of the Times (NYT, 3/5/13) The announcement about the television series is a significant footnote to film history since the last and only time Spielberg and Kubrick worked together was on A.I. Artificial Intelligence which as the Times commented “Mr. Spielberg was producing for Mr. Kubrick, and which he directed after Mr. Kubrick’s death.” The short Times notice came with its own bit of science fiction beginning with Times reporter Dave Itzkoff's comment, “While another collaboration between Stanley Kubrick and Steven Spielberg would seem to require a time machine, a Ouija board of some sort of interdimensional extraterrestrial monolith, plans are nonetheless under way for these two celebrated filmmakers to work together again.” Though A.I. did gross $235 million at the box office, it’s one of Spielberg’s most underrated films, primarily due to the unpopular notion that underlies its script: that consciousness can exist without the body. Moviegoers don’t like to hear that someday the race may endure as bits of data in a cosmic computer. As A Clockwork Orange, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Eyes Wide Shut all attest, Kubrick was not only a futurist, but a visionary about the fate of human consciousness. Talking about consciousness, Spielberg’s direction of the Napoleon script, which dates from l961 (the last great epic about Napoleon was Abel Gance’s l927 silent epic) could end up being a profound way of carrying on Kubrick’s legacy.

1 comment:

  1. jylle benson-gaussMarch 22, 2013 at 11:17 AM

    Napoleon seems to be in the (disembodied) cosmic consciousness lately. I filled an hour on a road trip googling quotes from Napoleon; unsurprisingly he was a firm misogynist; surprisingly he acknowledged that wars are fought both on a tactical (physical) level and emotional or spiritual one. More than the short guy on a tall horse we're taught about in history classes, he had a philosophical side that is intriguing.
    I have to wonder if Kubrick did a Vulcan mind-meld with Spielberg before passing, in order to keep this Napoleon project alive, or whether it was unnecessary. However it comes about I'm looking forward to the Spielberg/Kubrick treatment of Napoleon.

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