November 11, 2009
The future of the Basterds
There was some news yesterday about a potential prequel to Inglourious Basterds, a rumor spread by my least favorite part of the whole movie, Eli Roth. He says Tarantino has most of a prequel written (probably because it was originally going to be included in the movie) and that there's enthusiasm among the actors to do it:
We have three scenes that we shot in Boston that take place before the war, and Quentin says if he does the prequel, he's going to use them."
Though one of the Boston scenes allegedly involves Cloris Leachman, who is fantastic, I'm guessing/hoping this prequel idea is never going to happen. I don't know about you, but I thought the Basterds were the weakest part of the movie. Every time they came on screen, I was pulled out of the action, they were hammy thug caricatures, and if you'd taken them out of the movie entirely, it still would have held together fine. Though I guess you'd have to do something about the title.
The engine driving the movie was Shoshanna's story, I thought, and it seems like Tarantino steered the plot in such a way that she had the biggest, awesomest victory and definitely the most incredibly cool visual moments. The memorable parts of the movie are all hers. It almost seemed like Tarantino came up with the Basterds idea first, then the other characters all eclipsed them and became much more interesting, but he still felt like he had to stick with his original vision of these Nazi-killing soldiers.
So more Basterds would not be a good focal point for another movie, and more Eli Roth would be a flat-out disaster. Watching him on screen was painful; he had this "Look! I'm acting now!" weirdly intense self-consciousness that was completely distracting and out of place, no matter how handily he wielded that baseball bat. I know the Basterds were all meant to be broad cartoons, but he was on his own level of overacting that was too much even for Tarantino.
Just put the prequel scenes on the DVD and be done with it.
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