Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Movie Review: The Adventures of Huck Finn

In my North and South review I said I haven't seen the movie that adequately depicts why the Civil War happened, that adequately depicted all of the hypocrisies of the South.  I was wrong. there is one.

You know there is one man who truly understood the southern culture of the Civil War and reconstruction era. He loved it and he hated it. And he was a master storyteller the likes of which hasn't been seen since.

The thing you have to realize when going into The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is that it was written when Twain was starting to get a little tired of the South. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer represents everything good about the South while Huck Finn represents everything he thought was poisoness in that culture. Oh it's fun to laugh at it now hell it was fun to laugh at then, but if he was definitely choosing his targets.

See Huck is a rebel who thinks everything around him is kind of stupid. Why because Twain was a rebel who looked around and some of the stuff he saw and though that's kind of stupid. "Just because an idea is popular don't make it right"

That bein' said, Huck ain't no gentleman and will give you a good right hook for sayin' he is. "Who you callin' innocent?" He's a loveable scoundrel, so lyin', thievin' cussin' and scrappin' are part of what he does. Hell you could go as far as saying he's Han Solo beta.  Damn I wish I was half as good and spinin' a good yarn when I needed but my face ain't half as good at lying as my tongue. Keep it simple so you'll remember it and try not to let the guilt get to you. 

"Its always so damn troublesome doing whats right and so damn easy doing what's wrong so I just decided from now on I'm going to do what's handiest."

Okay. I am not a Huck Finn connoisseur, I mostly skimmed the book to get through a class (the worst way to get me to read a book by the way), but growing up one of my favorite movies of was 1993 Disney version aka the one starring Frodo, and on retrospect I know why. Oddly enough for Disney it didn't pull punches. It understood that while exaggerated for comedic effect, a lot of the stuff in the book was drawn from real life, and as a result should be treated with respect. Racism, child abuse, religion, and most pointedly the Southern code of honor.  It's all meant to be funny, but uncomfortably funny, like when you're in the front row of a comedy club and become fodder for the night.

The movie can switch between drama and laughs at the drop of a hat.

And just for the record I have a thing for tricksters in fiction. Well Huck is the original American guile hero in that regard.  The entire plot starts because he fakes his death to keep his drunk pap from beatin' on and possibly murderin' him. By the way Ron Perlman can do menace.

Okay if you didn't know the entire thing hinges on the strained friendship between  Nigger Jim, a runaway slave and Huck. By the southern code of honor Huck is obligated to turn Jim in but doing just so doesn't sit right with him, but he doesn't know why and feels guilt about not doing it. Again Huck hates rules and prefers doing what feels right vs what folks tell him is right. He sees Jim's plight and fear and suffering and determines taking him back to all of that, especially considering their friendship just wouldn't be decent despite not doing so by all his accounts also being wrong.

Take a ride down the Mississippi.

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