CutthroatCritique - Running head CUTTHROAT CRITIQUE 1...

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Running head: CUTTHROAT CRITIQUE 1 Cutthroat Critique Samantha A. Hartley Southern Oregon University Film Genres Final Project
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CUTTHROAT CRITIQUE 2 Abstract Cutthroat Island, a 1995 action/adventure film starring Geena Davis and Matthew Modine, is widely considered to be one of the biggest flops in cinematic history, and for good reason too. I particularly like motion pictures that make the British military resemble the Imperialist snot-nosed brats they are and will be 'till the end of time, which this film does genuinely well. In any case, that is the main thing done to improve the film which isn’t much. The acting is better suited for a junior high theater production of Treasure Island , the plot makes little sense, and it’s very easy to see that director Renny Harlin’s aim was just to make a run-of-the-mill pirate movie and hope that it came off as special or different. Which it absolutely didn’t. There were so many things that could’ve been done to make the movie enjoyable, successful, and fresh. Instead, we got a cowpie of a film that let down legions of pirate film fans everywhere. One can easily see why the film’s production company, the infamous Carolco, (That also gave us the travesties that were Rambo III and Showgirls ) declared bankruptcy a few months into shooting. What could’ve been done to improve this picture? Read on to find out. Keywords : Film, Action, Adventure, Genre, Pirates, Cutthroat Island , Production
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CUTTHROAT CRITIQUE 3 Cutthroat Critique Genre One of the first things this movie definitely couldn’t do was commit to a genre. Cutthroat was very much intended to be a swashbuckler film, which is a subgenre of action and adventure, but for some reason, it was hard to discern that from all the other badly displayed genre elements. Was it an action film? Adventure? Comedy? Romance? A good movie can incorporate all of these and do it well, ( Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl , Casanova , and Stardust all come to mind here.) but all of Cutthroat Islands attempt at genre elements were either too obvious, poorly executed, or just out of place. To illustrate, many crappy and obvious jokes are made as an attempt at comedy and pretty much all of them fall flat. One would think that Geena Davis, having ample experience in comedy after starring in films such as Beetlejuice , Earth Girls Are Easy , and A League of Their Own , would have no problems bringing laughter to the film. Alas, this was not the case. Matthew Modine also doesn’t have a leg to stand on, having appeared in many comedies before agreeing to his role in Cutthroat . The other genres the film tries to touch on are maligned and abused within an inch of their lives. Actual action and adventure is just replaced with explosions and sloppy swordfights, with Modine being the only competent one at due to his fencing experience. When Matthew Modine is the only skilled one in an integral skill of a film, you know you’re in trouble.
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