Boleyn for Dollars

The Other Boleyn Girl isn’t has as horrible as you think it’s going to be, but it’s nothing approaching good either. I went because the novel it was based on, though wildly historically inaccurate, was soapy, smutty, dishy fun. “History through porn,” Scarlett Johansson called it. Much to its detriment, the movie version is none of those things.

For some reason, OBG the movie decided to treat itself as a self-important historical drama instead of a costumed suds-fest and it falls flat. The script guts the book completely; not just the sex and the bitchery, but even many (most?) of the more important and serious plot points (George being gay, the mob fury at Anne’s coronation and her reaction, the death of Mary’s first husband, I could go on) were lost on the cutting room floor. Henry VIII’s fight with the pope, break with the Catholics, and divorce…a grueling 4 or 5 year battle of wills…is tidly wrapped up in a 2-minute long montage. WTF?

But we can get accurate history on PBS. Even more offensive is that OBG has a PG-13 rating! For those wanting the 16th century smut (and for some of you out there…Eric Bana porn), you will be sadly disappointed.

Also, the director…I’m not going to bother looking up his name, he sucked that much…neded a quick boot to the head. About 3/4 of The Other Boleyn Girl was filmed from behind pillars, iron grilles, bed curtains, doors, you name it. There were hundreds of shots where literally half the screen was black/empty because it was a doorjam or something, and the other half contained the actor! Dude, this trick does not make us feel “drawn in” to the secrets of the movie…it makes us pissed off! He also didn’t seem able to hold two people in the frame at once, even if it was two people talking t each other. I HATE that. What are they teaching these kids in film school these days?!

So I said OBG wasn’t horrible; what was good about it?  Eric Bana made a darn good Henry8.  True, his coloring is 110% wrong, but at least he has the build, stature, and carriage down.  Bana seems like a king, and he can wear the accurate Tudor clothes without looking like a Ren-Faire tool.  Acting-wise he perfectly conveyed the combination of animal magnetism, stupidity, and  arrogance that were the hallmarks of Henry’s character.

Natalie Portman made a fine Anne Boleyn.  (And my instinctual hatred of her plays in pretty handy her, I’ll admit.)  For once, ScarJo didn’t offend me.  She looked frumpy throughout, and since everyone else’s English accents were so bad/nonexistant, ScarJo’s horrid one wasn’t as glaring as usual.  And did I mention that the costumes were great?

Ironically, before the movie was saw a “trailer” for season two of Showtime’s The Tudors.  It’s funny; Tudors claims to be based on actual history, but it does the fun n’ frothy soap thing far better than OBG, a movie based on a romance novel.  Isn’t there something wrong with that?  It’s just too bad they can’t replace JRM with Bana on The Tudors…then they’d really have a soap to be reckoned with.

3 Responses to “Boleyn for Dollars”

  1. LOUP Says:

    Have you seen the BBC version of OBG?

    Natascha McElhone is lovely to look at. Wonder if it is any better.

  2. babs Says:

    Have heard good things about the BBC production, but haven’t seen it.

  3. whistler Says:

    *blink* This is waaaay out of my league.

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