Monday, 22 January 2007
gonna fly now...
I have some serious news, but I need to think about that a bit more before I write about it. I'll get onto that tomorrow. In the meantime, I'm going to talk about Rocky Balboa, the sixth and (presumably) the final Rocky film that Sylvester Stallone will make. It tells the story of a 50-something year old Rocky coming out of retirement to take up the challenge laid down by Mason "The Line" Dixon, the undefeated world heavyweight champion of the world. Apparently his nose had been put out of joint by some computer simulation on ESPN that predicted that Rocky in his prime would have beaten Dixon on a knockout. Frankly, the detail of the plot isn't really all that important....
I have long been a fan of the first Rocky film -- in the light of the increasingly ridiculous sequels, people tend to forget what a great film this is. Yes, it has a long fight scene at the end, but the story it tells is about so much more than just the fighting. Hell, the hero doesn't even win. How often does that happen in film? The new film is a return to this kind of simplicity, and it's all the better for it. The climactic fight scene itself is not too long, and it is fantastically exciting. I'm not a boxing fan by any means, but I absolutely loved it. I felt every punch with Rocky, and I felt that surge of excitement when the Rocky theme began to play.
It's clearly not art, and the scenes between Rocky and his son in particular jarred a bit, but overall it is a fantastic feelgood film. It's more than two hours long and it doesn't outstay its welcome one bit - in fact, if anything in places it almost felt a bit rushed. The original Rocky film has just been re-released on DVD with over 9 hours of extras. I imagine that when this comes out on DVD, it will surely have something similar. Yeah, so maybe all of the characters aren't fully drawn. The thing is though, that it doesn't matter a bit. I thought it was ace.
I've come straight home and downloaded the theme tune ('Gonna Fly Now' by Bill Conti) and I fully intend to play it over and over again when I go running tomorrow.... The end credits show various people of all shapes and sizes running up 'Rocky Steps' in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It might be cheesy, but if I ever find myself in Philadephia, that's exactly what I'm going to do too. As Aunty Wikipedia says, "The steps represent the ability of an underdog, or an everyman, to rise to the occasion". Who doesn't want some of that?
If this is the most depressing day of the year, then this is an excellent way to stave off the blues.
No "Eye of the Tiger" though. I suppose you can't have everything.