Monday, January 12, 2009

Death Becomes Her

Death Becomes Her
Directed by Robert Zemeckis

Death Becomes Her is a black comedy that came out in the early 90s. It has three great leads: Goldie Hawn, Meryl Streep, and Bruce Willis. The film centers around two women insanely jealous of the success of the opposite. Both women go to great lengths to make the other miserable and Bruce Willis is the man caught between them. The women resort to a potion in order to look more younger and glamorous. The film could be read as a comedy about the dangers of taking plastic surgery too far. I was reminded of the drug Botox by the youthful transformation scene of Meryl Streep. Once the women start down the path of maintaining their youth, they are stuck in the process and can't escape.

One other thought that entered my mind is that for an industry focused on appearance, it is odd that this was a big studio movie with an obviously large budget. It pokes fun at the reliance of movie stars on their appearance. 

The movie also relies greatly on special effects. Computer effects are used to bring youth to the appearance of Meryl Streep. The latest film from Zemeckis, Beowulf, is reliant entirely on special effects as it is computer-generated. The film goes for a hyper-realistic appearance, where the characters are created specifically for a certain look and feel. Beowulf didn't have to rely on actors for the look of the characters (although certain actors' likenesses were retained). It just struck me as odd that the director of a movie about people's fixation on appearance went on to direct films where he is totally in control of the appearance of its characters. 

Rustin Allison

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