Friday, 28 August 2015
Absolutely Anything (4 Stars)
This is a witty comedy film from the hands of the Monty Python team, written and directed by Terry Jones. Neil Clarke (Simon Pegg), the schoolteacher responsible for class 10c, is selected at random from all of the Earth's population to receive absolute power. He can do anything he wants by speaking his wish out loud and waving his hand. This is a test by powerful beings from an alien race. If he uses his power for good the Earth will be saved, if he uses his power for selfish reasons the Earth will be destroyed.
It's noteworthy that this is the last film made by Robin Williams before his death. He performs the voice of Neil's dog Dennis.
The film is a cross between "Bruce Almighty" and "Bedazzled" (particularly the 2000 version with Brendan Fraser). Neil Clarke has godlike powers, but he has to be careful what he asks for, because if he formulates his words carelessly he doesn't get what he intended. For instance, when he wishes that he is on the bus he finds himself on the roof of the bus.
The question we asked one another as members of the film group is what we would do if we could do absolutely anything. The answers varied between winning the lottery and making David Cameron homeless. Both very good wishes. But what would I do?
First I would return to my youth. I want to look the way I did when I was 20. I would freeze myself at that point in my life and not age any more. I would keep my beautiful long blond hair forever.
Then I would want knowledge of all space and time. What good is being able to do everything if you don't know everything? I would want to be able to see everything that has happened everywhere in the universe. I would want to see everything that will happen in the future, including the variations if I want to intervene to stop a future event happening. I don't mean I want a vast canvas in front of me, I want to be able to zoom in and watch individual places or people, flipping forwards and backwards through their lives like pages in a book.
If I wished for these two things I wouldn't need any more. Living immortally young and always knowing the results of my actions would make me in control of my destiny. It doesn't mean that I could do whatever I want. It means that I would always do what's best for me, my friends and my community.
One thing that I would never use my power for is to make someone do something. That's Neil's biggest mistake in the film. Taking away someone else's free will is monstrous. If a girl only falls in love with me because I use my powers to make her love me I'll never be happy. I'd be making her my slave, and I don't want a slave, I want a lover.