Thursday, September 13, 2012

Highlander

Highlander
seen on TV @ AMC
9.12.12

One thing about the concept of living forever which nobody ever considers: how do you know for  certain that somebody's immortal and not just very-long-lived? The only way to know for sure if someone's immortal is if they really do live forever, and unless you're immortal yourself, you can't really measure that, can you? (I wish I could take credit for such an observation, but I can't. I got it from a Star Trek novel.)

But let's say that immortality is totally possible. Is it something that anyone would want? In many stories about immortal beings - vampires, gods super-advanced aliens, what have you - it's as much curse as blessing, and I gotta admit, it doesn't sound appealing to me either, but there have gotta be some advantages to it, right? Well, I thought about it, and it seems to me that whether or not living forever is a good thing depends upon a number of things:


- When you were born. If it was any time within the last fifty years, that doesn't seem long enough to really appreciate the alleged benefits of immortality. You'd need at least a century behind you, since that's about as old as humans can get on their own.

- Where you were born. Combined with when you were born, this is pretty important. It's one thing if you were born into, say, the royal family of King George III during the 18th century; another thing altogether if you were born in a small African village in the 19th century during the height of the European slave trade. Still, immortality could be a big problem either way.


- What kind of person you are. Maybe you think being immortal makes you superior to everyone else. Maybe you wanna take over the world because of it. If you're the religious type, maybe you think God's punished or rewarded you in some way. If you're the scientific type, maybe you wanna figure out how this is possible, and whether or not it can be duplicated.

- How you got that way. If you got bit by a vampire, you might feel angsty and melancholy, or angry and bitter, or thrilled and happy, depending on what kind of vampire it is. If it was a random accident of some sort, involving either magic or science, who knows how you might feel?

- How many others there are like you. Eternity might be so bad if you had someone to share it with. Then again, maybe you don't know how to find others like you. What if you were completely unique though? Would you be doomed to outlive humanity itself, all alone?


Highlander addresses some of these issues, but it doesn't go deep enough into the rules it sets up for itself, like why does there have to be only one? What I remember of the sequels (which is very little, since none of them are as entertaining as the original) doesn't provide a very compelling answer (and I've never seen the TV series).

I'm surprised no one's tried remaking or rebooting this franchise yet, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time. I'm inclined to think, though, that it could use a reboot, with a greater sense of mythology and history, in addition to cool swordfights. Give the franchise to a young director like Neill Blomkamp or Duncan Jones and let them recreate the whole thing while keeping the essentials: immortal Scotsman, swordplay, "There can be only one," and Queen. Oh, wait...

And by the way, AMC, do you think you could plan your commercial breaks a little better and not go to one in the middle of a fight scene?

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