And you thought disaster movies were out
posted at 1:26 pm on June 27, 2009 by Ed Morrissey
Irwin Allen practically created the “disaster movie” genre, star-studded spectaculars surrounding some massive tragedy like a sinking ship, an earthquake, or a high-rise fire. Thankfully, the genre died out after producing more than its share of critical and box-office disasters … or at least, we thought it was dead:
After the 2002 cinematic flop “Crossroads,” few would have been surprised if teen-talent-turned-adult-disaster Britney Spears never again appeared on the silver screen. According to reports this week, though, Spears is weighing a return to acting — and it is a comeback that Jews in Germany are viewing with extreme distaste.
Spears, who is currently in the process of successfully resuscitating her recently languishing music career with her global “Circus” tour, is reportedly reviewing a script for a film tentatively titled “The Yellow Star of Sophia and Eton.” The flick would see her playing a character named Sophia LaMont who travels back in time to fall in love with a Jewish concentration camp prisoner named Eton. In a tricky critique of ongoing anti-Semitism, the script concludes with the lovebirds travelling back to the present day before being killed by Nazis.
Charlotte Knobloch, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, has said she is horrified at the prospect of Britney making a Holocaust film. “In films that deal with the Holocaust, the script should be carefully chosen and the cast picked with care,” Knobloch told the German tabloid Bild. “It is reprehensible to combine the issue of the Holocaust with Britney Spears in an attempt to secure financing for the film ‘The Yellow Star of Sophia and Eton.’ Ethical considerations should have priority.”
Anyone who watched Crossroads has to be horrified at the thought of Britney Spears making any other movie, but even Meryl Streep couldn’t save this concept. In the hands of Spears, it sounds as though it could be Battlefield Earth bad, but without any of the unintentional humor that makes the classic stinker so much fun.
Besides, in what universe would this secure financing for the film? It’s not as if Spears’ fan base will run to the theaters to see a Holocaust flick. They’re more likely to watch the next iteration of Transformers — which is creating its own controversy these days:
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, the much-anticipated sequel to the surprise summer 2007 smash hit “Transformers” is taking fire for its comic relief: a pair of slang-spewing, illiterate Chevy hatchbacks named Skids and Mudflap. Much like criticism over the “Star Wars” Episode 1 character Jar Jar Binks, the robot duo is being labeled a racist caricature.
Though the pair fights alongside the Autobots, the robot protagonists of Michael Bay’s explosive sequel, they do little real fighting and mostly squabble amongst themselves. One of them even sports an ornate gold tooth, serving no real function.
Just for full disclosure, I didn’t like the first Transformers film, and I have no plans to see the second one. The first film had the same issue, though, with its “Jazz” character, who spoke in urban patois. This surprised me, since the only Jazz I know is a crusty upstater from New York. As I recall it didn’t create a controversy at that time, but that may be because the Jazz character didn’t get played as comic relief. The explanation was that the robots picked up their individual personalities from observing Earth culture, which makes some sense. Michael Bay made the mistake of doubling down on it, and now people have noticed.
Maybe next time, Bay can include a Britney robot who goes back in time and gets disassembled by global-warming activists, or something.