||[Dec. 27th, 2005|09:17 pm]
Finally had the chance to see "The World's Fastest Indian" tonight, just a couple of months after the rest of town did.
Great fun. Going by the disclaimer at the end of the film they had enough difficulty fitting all their Burt Munro stories into the script so they had to cobble a few of them together to fit. Also there's been a few names changed (why bother?) but the story's basically been tightened up a bit to make a good film. As "making a good story" seems to be a fine art around here (there's a lot of local legends that are a bit more interesting than reality - as anyone who'd seen last night's repeat of the first episode of Marcus Lush's railway documentary would know!) there's no real problem with that.
Anthony Hopkins' accent wavers all over the place. That's not as big an issue as it could have been as a lot of people of Burt's generation around here did have somewhat flaky accents. He manages to get it fairly right off and on but in the Bonneville scenes, away from the Invercargill sets he doesn't seem to have enough people talking normally around him to keep his accent fresh.
As for the other actors... whoever it is who plays the kid next door does a fairly good job of being realistic and not too cute (although his costumes are a bit more late 1940s than early 1960s). Tim Shadbolt as one of Munro's friends got a lot of laughs in the film, not because of any acting ability but because he's the local Mayor. He's a nice guy although a bit of a flake and is notorious for promoting Invercargill... probably a bit more than Invercargill as a whole is comfortable with. (That didn't stop him getting re-elected with a massive majority in 2004 and unopposed in 2001). Shadbolt's worth it as Mayor just for all the WTF reactions from elsewhere in the country, where he is (justly) notorious.
There are a couple of gaffes in the script... early on Hopkins as Munro is talking about "dollars"; money would have been "pounds" these days (decimal currency wasn't introduced until five years later). The word "dollars" was sometimes used generically for money but precise amounts would have been in pounds; and if the word "dollar" was used for a precise unit, as it was occasionally, it would have referred to five shillings i.e. a quarter of a pound.
Most of the Invercargill location scenes were filmed in a vacant section in Lithgow Street, with some being filmed at Oreti Beach and one shot on Tramway Road seen from Rockdale Road. Lithgow Street would have been a different area from where Burt lived (I think he actually lived in Tramway Road) but it would have been difficult to find a suburb with the sort of houses in the right sort of state of decrepitude next to a convenient empty section; the houses in Lithgow street would have only just been built at that time!
When it came to the American scenes I wasn't paying so much attention to the scenery so just sat back and... well, spent most of the time laughing actually. It's a little bit "Crocodile Dundee", although Munro's shown as being a lot more out of his depth and appearing slightly confused and dotty... untill he gets to Bonneville, where he's all business. It's particularly hilarious to watch the scrutineers' reaction when they're checking over his bike. (Most normal motorcycles don't have the cork off a brandy bottle as an important part. But then again most normal motorcycles don't have tyres which are maintained with boot polish and a carving knife.)
Nothing much interesting in the end credits, I stayed right through them just because one of the blokes at work chucked in his job to work on the film and I wanted to see if he was in it (he got a credit near the end as "Art Department Runner", which sounds like a grandiose word for gofer).
This film is not for everyone. As played by Hopkins in the film, Munro is a bit like that embarrassing uncle you secretly reckon is a great guy but wouldn't want your own kids to emulate. Persons who own lemon trees should be particularly careful. But it's great fun if you're in the mood for a crazy-old-duffer-makes-good sort of film.
Oh, and drealkulit? If you get the chance to see this film: do it. The local `sixties bad boys on bikes show up occasionally. Didn't catch many of the makes and models but there was at least one AJS and one that was probably a BSA.