Some links before getting started. Norma had posters on her mind. Yesterday being a Friday, Parsnip had a Square Dog Friday. Cheryl had a crime blotter post at her page. Shelly had an update on one of her dogs. Eve had news on two poetry anthologies. Lorelei had thoughts on writing. And the Whisk had a Friday question.
Now then, something entirely different today, and you might want to check this earlier post for a reference as to where this all started. By the way, I've never seen one episode of Downton Abbey. I'm expecting to get raked over the coals for this one.
Self Absorbed Director Releases Downton Abbey Adaptation; Millions Outraged
Los Angeles (AP) Michael Bay, the high octane explosion worshipping director behind such films as Armageddon and Pearl Harbor, released his latest film over the weekend, after much delay and many threats from devoted fans of the original series he has wrecked havoc with. Downton Abbey: Blowing Up The Abbey was meant to be released in December 2013, but was pushed back repeatedly while the director continued to film and deal with threats from fans of the television show outraged that he was manhandling their franchise.
The producers of the show, Julian Fellowes and Gareth Neame, have insisted all along that Bay swindled rights to make a film, and have vehemently disavowed any connection to the project, stressing that they continue to tell the story of the aristocratic Crawleys and their servants in the ongoing series with the dignity and gravitas that the tale requires. “We would never associate ourselves with that vile explosion-prone imbecile,” Neame told reporters.
“Indeed,” Fellowes agreed. “We would like to add that while we get to film at Highclere Castle, the Carnarvon family strictly forbade any film crew from Michael Bay to even step onto the grounds. They safeguard the dignity and history of Highclere with great concern, and want nothing to do with Michael Bay either.”
Bay shrugged that off in a press conference held at Digital Domain’s offices in Los Angeles. He appeared before a crowd of reporters, looking smug and entirely too pleased with himself. “Look, just because those fusspot Brits say I can’t film inside that fancy-ass castle doesn’t mean there aren’t ways around that, right? I mean, a lot of people tour that place every year, and if I happen to send a couple of guys with small video cameras in on a tour, and if they happen to film enough that I can build sets and do some CGI green screen tricks to essentially have a virtual Highclere Castle turn up in my film, so much the better.” He smiled as if thinking he had outsmarted the world.
The film itself has enraged critics, fans of the show, British society, the Royal Family, PBS, and pretty much anyone with a working brain. For a time hardcore Downton fans had a fifty million dollar bounty out on Bay, until cooler heads prevailed. Critics tore the film apart, citing its disregard for the social commentary of the source material, the history of Britain, and the class structure in favour of a high octane explosion filled thriller involving a runaway train filled with dynamite on a collision course with destiny. The casting outraged everyone, starting with the leads, featuring Nicolas Cage as Robert Crawley, the Earl of Grantham. Shia LaBeouf had been cast as Matthew Crawley, heir to the estate.
Betty White took Maggie Smith’s place as the Dowager Countess. She told reporters, "you know, I've always hated that ****er Maggie Smith, so this is one ****ing good way to rub her face in it." Megan Fox was cast as Lady Mary Crawley, looking perpetually confused. Other key cast members included Jon Voight as underbutler Thomas Barrow and Steve Buscemi as Lord Grantham’s valet John Bates. None of the American cast even bothered trying to use British accents, though at one point Cage can be heard to say, “Tea time! Cup of Earl Grey, Daddio.”
The fact that the film features Voight kicking King George V (as played by Dana Carvey) in the butt has infuriated the British Royal Family. “We are not amused,” a statement was issued from Buckingham Palace on behalf of the Queen. “And we would remind Mr. Bay that the Tower of London can easily be returned to its old use as a prison.”
Aside from Bates being a hero of sorts, Barrow being a conniving bastard, and the Dowager Countess being a cranky old bat, there is little in the film that reflects the television show. None of the intricate and complicated relationships that fans treasure can be found in the movie. Instead we have a two and a half hour nonsensical plotline about a freight train running out of control in the English countryside, loaded with explosives, and ultimately putting Downton Abbey, its residents, and staff in danger. This reporter feels it’s not spoiling the movie to say it ends in a massive explosion with the manor destroyed, carnage everywhere, and Shia LaBeouf torn in half by a runaway locomotive. Unfortunately that last part only applies to the movie, not to the actor, who continues to get parts in Michael Bay films and continues to endlessly refer to himself in the third person for no reason whatsoever.
Bay shrugged when asked why he would so desecrate a beloved television series, and laughed. “Oh, come on, who honestly watches that show? My audience doesn’t watch it. They want to see explosions, explosions, and more explosions. Fast vehicles moving fast, hot babes waxing them while barely dressed, and we had the Megan Fox factor in place for that. I mean, the box office proves me right, am I right or am I right?” Indeed, the film took first place this weekend in box office totals, with drooling Michael Bay fans cheering endlessly while explosion after explosion dominated the screen. All the while, outside theatres, Downton fans picketed and protested. Bay seemingly could care less. “What can I say? I know my audience.”
We leave the final word to Penelope Hampshire, president of the Downton Abbey Worldwide Fan Association and founder of the Free John Bates Now movement that started up when the character was imprisoned for a time on the show. “This repugnance that Michael Bay calls a film is a desecration to Downton Abbey,” she told reporters from her office at Oxford, where she is a faculty member teaching English history. “He is an awful, awful man, and an insult to everyone who loves the show. I strongly urge in the most strenuous terms that every true Downton fan not to see this film. Don’t put so much as one pound in the pocket of Michael Bay.”
She paused for a long moment, and added, “And Mr. Bay, I would advise you that there are many of us out there, and we’re very angry with you. I suggest you keep looking over your shoulder for the rest of your life, sir.”