Epic fantasy is the one genre of storytelling that Hollywood has never been able to master. Before Lord of the Rings, there was a scant handful — Willow, The Princess Bride, and Ladyhawke nearly exhaust the list for the last three decades — of live-action fantasy films that even attained cinematic mediocrity. Of these, only The Princess Bride, with its quirky one-liners and odd commingling of the modern and medieval, achieved something approaching cult appeal. Until very recently, fantasy was perceived to be box-office poison (“Never act with children or dragons” goes the adage), and filmmakers stayed away from tried-and-true literary classics like the works of Tolkien and Lewis.
I have a vivid personal memory of my father banging his fist on the kitchen table, angered because of the way numerous politicians and media pundits were trashing Senator Joseph McCarthy. “I know he’s right and these characters are covering up for their communist friends,” said my dad.
One thing about politicians and even pundits: all their stands are courageous, if they do say so themselves. Mitt Romney, during his ill fated presidential campaign, ran an ad in which he (or rather the narrator) said that while it may be politically incorrect to say so, Mitt Romney believes in a strong America.
People should understand the lethal danger of allowing themselves to be disarmed and therefore at the mercy of the lawless — whether the criminals are thugs prowling the streets or despots haunting the halls of government.
This understanding came to me at great personal cost, and I hope that good people across our nation can learn this lesson in a less painful way.