The World O' Crap Archive

Welcome to the Collected World O' Crap, a comprehensive library of posts from the original Salon Blog, and our successor site, world-o-crap.com (2006 to 2010).

Current posts can be found here.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Druids

Movie Monday
Before we begin the screening, we’d like to remind everyone to please vote in the thread below for the 2006 Write Like a Wingnut Contest, because after wading through Christopher Lambert in Druids you’re going to want to kill yourself, and we are legally enjoined from tabulating any ballots cast by dead people outside the limits of Cook County, Illinois.

And now, in honor of Springtime we present:

Druids (2001)
Directed by: Jacques Dorfmann
Written by: Jacques Dorfmann

Tagline: His people made him a leader. The empire made him a renegade. History made him a hero.
Facts made him a loser. This film is better known in Europe, were it was a huge hit, as Vercingétorix, the name of an ancient Gallic leader who is apparently much revered in France for getting his ass kicked by Caesar. And according to Christian Spotlight on the Movies, Jacques Dorfmann is actually not a filmmaker (quelle surprise) but a historian who dramatized the Gallic Wars with a scrupulous attention to period detail.

So, the story you are about to see is true. The names have been changed, because they?re all really stupid (Vercingétorix? Dumnorix? Why not Archaeoptyrix? Or Aviatrix? Or Trixareforkids?)
As with all films about First Century pagans, we begin in space, where a spermatozoa the size of a Schwan’s truck is attempting to fertilize the moon. This goes on for awhile, with the jizz rebuffed by each object in near earth orbit (although it does manage to get to second base with the Hubble) until it finally mistakes the Sun for an ovum and dives into the corona screaming “Yeeeeee-HA!”

The viewer may well wonder about the relevance of giant orbital sperm to a film about Caesar’s campaigns in Gaul, but the significant becomes clear when auteur Jacques Dorfmann appends the words, “For my Father” to the credits, and we realize this sequence is actually his family’s earliest home movies. (“I had a happy blastocythood. As a zygote, I idolized my father, but was tormented by doubts that I could ever be even half the man is was, since it would require growing about 8 trillion more cells?”)

Finally, the camera makes its way to Earth. It’s the year 60 B.C.; white muslin robes are all the rage, gods are plentiful, and Stonehenge still has that new henge smell. A querulous pagan buttonholes “Arch Druid Bukkake” (well, that’s what it sounded like) and says, “We?re dying! What should we do?”

Bukkake points out the space spooge passing overhead and cries, “Behold! The sign of the coming of the king!”  Because even though all men (except Ben Shapiro) spill their seed, only royalty can get that kind of hang time. The Arch Druid declaims: “Every people, every tribe needs its legend. And every battle needs its hero.” He doesn?t go on to specify that every party needs its pooper, but the implication hangs heavy in the air. He then says, “I must go seek him out!” and hails a passing canoe.
It’s now some years later, and we find ourselves in Gergovia, which, judging by the glazed terra cotta roofs and stucco texture coating, appears to be a Master Planned Community somewhere in the O.C. Probably off the 405 near Irvine.

12-year old Vercingétorix is showing off the barn to 10-year old Joey Potter, and assuring her that when he is king, as prophesized by Arch Druid Bukkake, all this will be hers (“What, the curtains?”). But before he can convince her to play doctor (or barber, I guess), Vercingétorix’s dad is locked in a biffy by his brother and set on fire. Father and son make eye contact as Dad gets broasted alive, and young Vercingétorix glares at his uncle and declares, “I will kill you, Gorbaniccio. I will kill you,” in the same vague, distracted way a kid playing Madden NFL 06 promises to the mow the lawn as soon as he finishes the game.

Dissolve to the adult Vercingétorix (Christopher Lambert of Highlander infamy). Chris sits staring into a fire, repeating his oath of vengeance and reliving his father’s horrible death by immolation; considering he lives in a society where open flames are omnipresent, he must relieve it about 50 times a day, which probably accounts for the utterly bored look on his face.

Chris leaves his hut, a traveling bag thrown over his shoulder, and emerges into daylight, giving us a chance to fully admire his Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer wig. Arch Druid Bukkake notices the bag, and can immediately tell from Chris’s expression that he’s overdosed on Botox.

“It?s time for me to do what I must,” declares Chris. But Bukkake says, “You’re not ready.” Considering that Chris is 44 years old, and Vercingétorix was 26 when he died, he may actually be a little bit past his shelf life. But since the movie started in 60 B.C., and it’s now 45 B.C., they probably figured they could just wait while he aged backwards far enough.

Anyway, the “you’re not ready to face your destiny” speech leads to the inevitable training montage, as Bukkake takes Chris to meet Yoda (at this performance, the role of Yoda will be played by a tall, rangy French MILF). Naturally Chris gets his ass kicked, as the Amazonian warrior skillfully out-edits him. (The alternating use of speeded up and slow motion footage during the duel makes the film look like a combination of Kenneth Branagh’s Henry V and The Benny Hill Show.)

Chris decides that getting his ass kicked in 30 seconds by a girl means he’s ready to take on the Roman Empire. Bukkake sighs, “Just don’t abandon the path of knowledge when you take the road of action.” Chris is deeply moved by this admonition, and swears that no matter what the cost, he will get his G.E.D.

Chris thumbs a ride with Caesar, and they have one of those “We’re going to be mortal enemies one day so let’s be BFFs now so it’s totally poignant when I kill you” conversations. After a discussion of public works (Caesar points out that all roads lead to Rome. Also aqueducts. Also roads. And uh — roads), Chris thanks the big guy for the horse and takes the next off-ramp to Gergovia, where his destiny lies.

This is the moment he has trained and studied for all his life.  The ultimate test of his manly honor and warrior’s prowess as he confronts his uncle — the man who killed his father – and decides the fate of their people in a titanic struggle to the death.

Turns out, Vengeance is a breeze. Chris rides his horse into the Cheiftain’s Hall, borrows a spear from one of the guards, approaches his uncle’s throne with the air of a guy delivering a bouquet of carnations and a Mylar birthday balloon, and basically says, “Hi! I’ve come to stick this thing in you. Is that okay?” His uncle sits there with a mildly perplexed expression that seems to say, “Really? Stick me with a spear? What could he mean by that? Is that even a sentence? And shouldn’t the horse be outside?” Then Chris listlessly jams the spear into the old man’s shoulder, while the other nobles seated at high table exchange vague looks (“Um…Was that Vengeance? Or has the floor show started? And where’s our mozzarella sticks?”).

Meanwhile, all the tribal chieftains of Gaul are gathered in Boulogne, where Caesar is hosting a Britain Invading Seminar, and selling his self-motivational scrolls. Chris shows up, having acquired an army of followers and Hulk Hogan’s mustache. Caesar invites him over for potluck, where Chris is reunited with the now grownup Joey Potter, who has been taken prisoner by the Romans and brutally and repeatedly dubbed.

Then a bunch of First Century B.C. politics goes on, which manages to be both Byzantine before there was a Byzantium, and incredibly boring, sort of like sitting through a Druidic Zoning Commission meeting (“Next on the agenda is item #417, an amendment to Section VIII-A of the Building Code requiring that all new henge construction (defined as any work for which a county permit was issued between Lughnasadh-3 and Dublachd-5) will meet the attached standards mandating a minimum vertical clearance of 13 rods…”) The upshot is, Chris finds out that the Romans were responsible for his father’s slow-roasted, fire-brewed taste, and he retaliates by sending Caesar’s horse back to him, saying, “Return to Caesar that which is Caesar’s.” (So!  Considering that this is roughly the year 45 B.C., it seems that Christ stole that line from him.)

Chris returns to his birthplace of Gergovia, but the villagers close the gates and pretend they’re not home. Bereft, Chris goes to see Yoda, who tells him that Arch Druid Bukkake has gone to that Great Japanese Fetish Website in the Sky, even though he’s standing right there and insisting that he’s not dead. Ignoring him, Yoda says, “Brother and sister of the sword!” This is a signal for she and Chris to stab their own hands, take a sip of blood, and start to make out.

Chris musters an army of peasants with twigs and demonstrates his military genius by conquering Gergovia in a swift, bloody assault while still somehow managing to avoid an action sequence. (Except for a shot of Chris wanly hacking through a succession of whisper-thin chorus boys from the Gergovia Light Opera production of “Dames at Sea.”)

The raped and wounded villagers are so grateful to Chris for sacking them, that they immediately declare him king by waving cleft sticks in the air, which was apparently the First Century B.C. equivalent of those giant foam fingers. Personally, I can’t get that worked up about it, but they seem excited so — okay. Fine. That’s our big finish. Enjoy your gumboils and cholera. Now where’s that Netflix envelope?

Oh crap. Apparently being the king of Loserville isn’t enough, and now the bewigged, Botox-faced nitwit wants to go get all up in Caesar’s grill. Great.

Chris decides to drive the Romans back across the Alps. In order to win the trust and loyalty of the other tribes, and inspire all of Gaul to rally ’round him, he burns down their homes and destroys all their crops. (In 2003, President George W. Bush was seen boarding Air Force One with a copy of Vercingétorix’s seminal treatise on War, “Love Me or I’ll Tell My Army to Set You on Fire.” Now a Major Motion Picture!)

Chris shows up at Avaricum (Latin for “Bird Sperm”) and tells the residents to evacuate before he burns the place down. A young woman with a baby in her arms says, “A life for a city.” She tosses a knife to Chris and invites him to stab her son, which makes no sense because killing the kid isn’t going to keep the Romans from conquering the place and destroying it anyway. Unfortunately, Chris caught the knife by the blade, and he’s concentrating so hard on not screaming and bursting into tears that he’s having a hard time doing the math.

The predictable happens: Chris spares the town and Caesar kills every man, woman, and child living there, so enraging the Gauls that they dispatch the Oak Ridge Boys to tell Chris he’s a moron.

Even worse, the Romans besiege Gergovia, but the valiant defenders strike back by dropping chickens on them, and the battlefield is reduced to a nightmarish cacophony of screams and clucks.

The Romans regroup, but the woman of the town pull up their shirts and flash their boobs at the attackers, and suddenly it’s Gauls Gone Wild! The charge fails, as distracted Centurions scramble around looking for more quarters, or pause to shout, “Put ‘em on the glass!”

Chris wins, but later his closest friends and advisors are massacred by Teutons, who are apparently cheesed off because their tribal henna rinse turned out way too carroty and left them looking less like fierce northern warriors, and more like the late 60′s-era Lucille Ball.

Reeling from grief, Chris enters a room where his surviving retainers are engaged in a theological discussion of the local deities. He stares at everyone for a moment, and then says, “You crack yourself up, Fancy Helmet?”

I’ve watched this scene about five times now, and I still have absolutely no idea what this sentence means. But you know what? I don’t want to know.  It’s perfect just as it is.

Trapped by the encircling legions, Chris sends word for his troops to rush to his aid and meet the Romans on the field of honor, and at last secure freedom and dignity for all of Gaul, but they’re washing their hair. Desperate, Chris hatches a last-ditch plan for victory; it’s crazy, but it just…might…work! Except it doesn’t and the Gauls suffer a team wipe.

By this point the movie has been grinding on for over two hours, and simple logic suggests that they wouldn’t put us through all this if the story of Vercingétorix didn’t ultimately lead to an uplifting conclusion. And finally it does, when Chris surrenders to Caesar (I mean really grovels — face in the dirt, ass in the air) and Caesar has him killed.

We now return to space, where giant orbital sperm will think twice about forecasting the coming of a king with Tor Johnson’s range of facial expressions, Donald Rumsfeld’s grasp of military tactics, and Ron Perlman’s hair from Quest for Fire.

I was so-oo just about to get this movie and now you’ve ruined it for me!

But riddle me this!–WorldOCrapMan! Do you think Chris Lambert, fresh from his seminal performance as a tightly packed meat-bag in “Greystoke, Lord of The Bungle” or whatever it was is expanding his acting repertoire in this obviously indie film to pursue his dream of being more than just scenery, or are we seeing his nascent development as an auteur behind the camera, or behind the food truck even?

Though it seems you had plenty of material, that was the funniest movie critique I have ever read!
Didn;t someone on the old blog do “Red Dawn”? That was really funny too, but this? Priceless!
Zardoz! Do Zardoz!
You get, btw, serious points for “Gauls Gone Wild”.
Oh, yeah baby! Wonderful selection, although I really must bicker with the personae of the riding hordes near the end: they were definitely channeling a Kate Hepburn look in my book. But, yes, Gauls Gone Wild has assured your place in immor(t)ality.
That was absolutely fantastic. I officially can’t wait for the book! But in the meantime you’ve definitely made Mondays a lot better (even though it’s Tuesday).
As a companion piece to this review, might I suggest Something Awful’s review?
Hey, I was so enthralled by your review, that I immediately went to Amazon to see if I could get a copy, and lo and behold, they have quite a number at the wonderful price of $.01. I am thinking of getting all of them and giving them out as Imbolc presents this year. Thank you. s.z.
A not-so-friend had given me this DVD for my birthday. After viewing the first half hour, I decided never to speak to her again. I also decided to throw the DVD away.
I’ve heard the reason Lambert always looks like he’s overdosing on ‘ludes is because he actually wears very thick glasses and is blind as a bat. All the squinting and blank stares are due to his not being able to see the end of his own nose.
Wow. It’s kind of scary how closely this follows the plot of [i]Dagger of Kamui[/i], one of the biggest pieces of excrement I’ve ever had the pleasure to mock in my years as an animation fan. The lost father, the wandering sage and completely out-of-the-blue combat master, the main character who can’t turn around without killing a long-lost relative, the Byzantine and sleep-inducing historical politics, the refusal of the movie to END, DAMMIT…hell, both of them have, at the moment when if there was any justice in the world the credits would roll, the hero leading a rebellion against the Evil Emperor, whom Nobody In The Audience gives Two Shits about. The only question is whether the Giant Space Sperm in [i]Druids[/i] trumps DoK’s cameos by Captain Kidd and a Japanese-speaking Mark Twain. Tough call.
Christian Spotlight is hilarious. I love how they have both a “moral rating” and a “moviemaking quality” for each film. I’ll give them credit for giving Druids a high on the latter but a low on the former. Usually their moral rating trumps their judgment of cinema. They hated Mulholland Dr. so much that it got a poor moviemaking rating.
For yuks, check out their reviews of the Star Wars movies. Each review has the obligatory “of course, there is only one True Force,” for those who apparently think they’re watching documentaries.
The fellow that made this was a historian? Vercingetorix wasn’t killed after surrendering to Caesar. He was sent to Rome and imprisoned in the Tullianum, then executed about five years later. An interesting film could probably be made about the Battle of Alesia, but this sure doesn’t sound like the one.
In light of this, I hope that Hollywood or its Euro equivalent never tackles the Arminius story, which is more important historically. His attack, well ambush, succeeded in preventing the Romanization of Germany and points north and east of the Rhine.
Y’know, I think I’d rather watch the Henge planning commission meeting…
Best… movie presentation… Evar!!
Hilarious!! But now I have to clean the soda off my computer (and out of my sinuses), and my office neighbors (the few who didn’t skip out of work early today) are staring at me funny.
Love the new format on your (very own!) website! Keep up the great work -
This is funny stuff. Literally LOL.
By the way, I know the feeling, GoodOl’WhatsisFace. I had similar moments with lines from Dune:
“The kegger..”
“Ursula…”
“…sealed into sauna suits and chugging their own urine like Gatorade”
“The Fremen win, but Sting isn’t ready for the movie to be over”
or from Mesa of Lost Women
“The story of a homicidal simpleton who saves the world from evil Jazzercize instructors”
and
“Meanwhile, Captain Chincleft, Sharon Stone, and Wimpy are captured by the Bangles.”
LOL,
I remember watching this film…. it’s ingrained on my memory
“His people made him a leader. The empire made him a renegade. History made him a hero”
LMFAO
CJ

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