Babylon A.D. opens this weekend and its outlook is pretty dire. It’s being screened for the press, but only selectively (for instance there are no screenings in Dallas), and those few who it has been screened for have hated it. It’s not just critics that think this thing is a piece of crap though… so does its director.
Talking to AMC, French import Mathieu Kassovitz ripped apart his own movie. “I'm very unhappy with the film,” he admits. However, he’s not taking any of the blame. He says, “I never had a chance to do one scene the way it was written or the way I wanted it to be. The script wasn't respected. Bad producers, bad partners, it was a terrible experience.” The result was a film which he categorizes as “pure violence and stupidity.” Kassovitz wanted to say something substantive with the film, but instead he ended up with a movie that plays “like a bad episode of 24.”
Kassovitz’s ranting fits in pretty well with what we’ve heard about Babylon A.D. all along. As far back as April there were rumors of studio interference and we already know that the version being released here in America is a drastically different, completely neutered, PG-13 version of the way R-rated way the movie is being released in Europe. The production was riddled with problems and Kassovitz blames 20th Century Fox’s lawyers. “Fox was sending lawyers who were only looking at all the commas and the dots.”
That’s right, this is a Fox film. It makes sense now doesn’t it? This is after all the studio that loudly pronounced it was out to keep people from seeing Watchmen, damn the profit loss. The studio that ruined X-Men. The studio that rumors say is currently screwing up Wolverine. The studio that killed not one, but two brilliant Mike Judge movies. The studio that thumbs its nose at its fans and film critics while ruining and interfering in just about everything it touches. Of course it was Fox. This is what they do.
Before you start feeling too bad for Kassovitz though, remember this is the guy who made Gothika. His track record, when it comes to making American movies, isn’t exactly stellar. Fox may have interfered, but there’s no reason to think that even if they hadn’t Kassovitz would have gotten the movie to work. He certainly didn’t manage it with Gothika. Still, it’s Fox. Their reputation proceeds them and Kassovitz says, “they don’t give a shit.”
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